Discourse: My way of bureaucratic reform is like playing soccer: Ahok
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama celebrates on Nov. 19 one year in office as the leader of the capital city. The Jakarta Post's Dewanti A. Wardhani, Evi Mariani Sofian and Corry Elyda talked with the governor recently about his hopes and views for Jakarta. Below are excerpts of the discussion.
Question: What are your dreams for a new Jakarta under your leadership?
Answer: I was elected together with Pak Jokowi. But my vision and mission since when I was a regent [in East Belitung] is simple, which is to provide residents with a full mind, full stomach and full wallet. That is my personal vision. [...] To fill residents' minds, stomachs and wallets, the city needs to be organized. Therefore, my main target is not development, but the people.
What I mean by full head is that residents should be able to enjoy a good education, become increasingly happy and have good beliefs. A full stomach means good health. A full wallet translates to high purchasing power.
You have a vision for an orderly Jakarta with the 5 Tertib Jakarta [5 Orderly Jakarta] program. You also often mention that you want to imitate Singapore in developing Jakarta.
The 5 Orderly Jakarta [consisting of orderly street vendors, residences, waste disposal, traffic and protests] was launched after Pak Jokowi left [to become president]. Let's be honest, if we want to take the example of another city, we can imitate Singapore. We cannot imitate European cities; it's different. Europe has existed for hundreds of years. Their development was conducted in the 1800s.
So, if we want to imitate another city, it should be Singapore. Like us, it has also been an independent country for several decades. If Singapore can do it, why can't we? We have many similarities with Singapore in terms of culture [...] The difference is that if people litter there, they get fined.
How do you rate your own performance in the past year?
My performance depends on how the people assess it. However, in my opinion, I have done what is needed to fill the minds of residents. I have made sure that all [poor] students receive a KJP [Jakarta Smart Card]. And the policy that I made is to make sure that the money in the cards cannot be withdrawn. I am not a politician who seeks popularity. Although people curse at me for this policy, recipients cannot withdraw the money.
In terms of health, you can look at all of our hospitals. We can handle everything, including chemotherapy. You can look at all of our hospitals, including Tarakan, Koja and Pasar Minggu. We have 1,400 beds to treat patients. We are also trying to build hospitals close to neighborhoods so that poor people can easily get treatment without spending much on transportation.
We have also begun treating our subdistrict heads like estate managers. Through the Qlue mobile application, we can carry out an electronic blusukan [impromptu visit]. Subdistrict heads are forced to work by residents. This is what I've done for a year. If subdistrict heads refuse to work, then I will fire them.
The way I conduct bureaucratic reform is like playing soccer. If a midfielder refuses to run and the back player performs poorly, the coach will say 'change'.
Do you think your bureaucratic reform has been effective so far?
Look at the sewers; aren't they cleaner now? Isn't the use of the city budget more efficient? People can comment on our low spending, but don't you see that our rivers are cleaner? Aren't there fewer damaged roads?
Some have complained that your bureaucratic reform causes demoralization.
Of course, there is always resistance to change. There is resistance from people who are used to stealing from the city budget. That is why we have started using the electronic budgeting system as well.
A number of civil servants also continue to cheat. But we understand the 'game' now. That's why we invite private companies to get involved in our projects. Why are our Rusun [low-cost apartments] cheaper now? After I asked private companies to build Rusun for their social and public facility obligation, I know the real price. [...] Including our flagship program RPTRA [child-friendly public space], next year we will develop RPTRA using the city budget according to the budget private developers used [for corporate social responsibility].
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